It’s bulb time - my favourite time of the year! Planting bulbs now is the best way to add spring curb appeal to your home. If patience is not your thing…then fall planting for spring blooms might be something your therapist should recommend because they are so worth it!
Here is my foolproof way to plant bulbs.
Whether you are shopping at a retail store or ordering online, make sure to look at the growing specs of all of the options. Don’t assume all tulips are the same! A few years ago I planted white tulips from big healthy looking bulbs. I didn’t realize that these tulips were giants, growing over 4’ tall. Unfortunately, I planted them in front of a basement window. (They have now been moved) Just like potted plants, bulbs have preferred growing conditions.
When planting your bulbs, I often group them in clusters in larger flat bottom holes that have good drainage. Bulbs can easily rot if they are in saturated soil. The depth of the hole should be about three times the height of the bulb.
Bulbs prefer to be planted ‘Tips Up, Roots down’. I’ve found that if you lay some bulbs on their sides, it takes them a little longer to bloom because they have to grow just a little further. This is an easy way to extend the flowering time from two weeks to three!
Often, gardeners will add fertilizers, bone meal or other products at this stage to help growth or to prevent squirrels from stealing your tubers. Personally, I use leftover chicken wire with 1 or 2” holes. The tulips have no problem growing through the mesh and the squirrels are unable to get the bulbs out from under it.
Bury your bulbs and chicken wire with soil, being careful to not pack it down too firmly. Once this is done, spend a few minutes to disguise your planted space. Squirrels are attracted to disturbed soil because they think a rival has hidden a nut in that location. I like to add mulch to the whole bed at this point to keep the little critters guessing.
Bulbs really are that simple, and so completely worth it! Try some daffodils or tulips by the front door for a pop of colour after a long winter.